This off-season for the Pittsburgh Steelers was one of bittersweet departures. Many key players the Steelers drafted and fans watched constantly develop and become household names decided to move on. However, one fan favorite that chose to stay in Pittsburgh was wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster recently joined the Michael Irvin Podcast and explained his reasoning for staying in the black and gold in 2021 over the reigning AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs.
“Just seeing K.C. and bro, Andy Reid was just calling me and he was sending me Lombardi Trophy pictures like constantly. We had a good talk, so it would’ve been K.C. after the Steelers. Being somewhere in an atmosphere and environment, knowing where the team knows you, they know your history, they know how you are, how to use you and stuff like that. Coming back and knowing that I would have Ben Roethlisberger back for one more year and playing my last year, it was just like, ‘Yo, I’m gonna take my chance, I’m gonna play with Ben.'”.
Smith-Schuster had multiple other offers outside of the Steelers including the Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles and the aforementioned Chiefs. Smith-Schuster signed a one-year year deal for $8 million with the Steelers and also spoke on his main reasoning for staying.
“But I think with me it’s more so staying home, staying loyal. In my situation, we have a new offensive coordinator, Ben’s coming back, my relationship with my receiver coach, Ike Hilliard, is amazing. You can’t beat that.”
Smith-Schuster has built a great relationship with veteran quarterback Roethilsberger and clearly felt that if he was going to sign a one-year extension, then playing with a quarterback he’s built such a solid rapport with would be in his best interest. I think I’m speaking for many Steelers fans when I say that I am extremely delighted to have JuJu back for one more year and am hopeful the salary cap situation in 2022 allows for a long-term extension to keep him in Pittsburgh much longer.
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